The February 2001 Eruption of Mount Cleveland, Alaska: Case Study of an Aviation Hazard

James J. Simpson Digital Image Analysis Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

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Jared S. Berg Digital Image Analysis Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

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Gary L. Hufford NOAA/National Weather Service Alaska Region, Anchorage, Alaska

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Craig Bauer NOAA/National Weather Service Alaska Region, Anchorage, Alaska

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David Pieri Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

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René Servranckx Canadian Meteorological Centre, Meteorological Service of Canada, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Abstract

Mount Cleveland, Alaska (52°49′N, 169°57′W), located on Chuginadak Island, erupted on 19 February 2001. The atmosphere–volcanic plume interactions that occurred as part of this event led to several serious encounters of commercial aircraft with the ash. A number of continental and oceanic air traffic control areas were affected. Here, a detailed case study of the eruption, subsequent movement of the airborne plume, and operational response is presented. The likelihood of such encounters in the future may be reduced as a result of lessons learned from this event. Some potential new assets for improving the detection of and response to the airborne volcanic ash hazard to aviation also are discussed.

Corresponding author address: James J. Simpson, Digital Image Analysis Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093. Email: jsimpson@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Mount Cleveland, Alaska (52°49′N, 169°57′W), located on Chuginadak Island, erupted on 19 February 2001. The atmosphere–volcanic plume interactions that occurred as part of this event led to several serious encounters of commercial aircraft with the ash. A number of continental and oceanic air traffic control areas were affected. Here, a detailed case study of the eruption, subsequent movement of the airborne plume, and operational response is presented. The likelihood of such encounters in the future may be reduced as a result of lessons learned from this event. Some potential new assets for improving the detection of and response to the airborne volcanic ash hazard to aviation also are discussed.

Corresponding author address: James J. Simpson, Digital Image Analysis Laboratory, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093. Email: jsimpson@ucsd.edu

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